50 Tailgating Snacks
Score some points with these crowd-pleasing bites.
1. Grilled Nachos Toss one 8-ounce bag lime-flavored tortilla chips with 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and 1/2 cup sliced scallions. Spread in a foil pan (or fold up the edges of nonstick foil to form a tray). Spoon 1 cup refried beans over the top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos and 2 more cups shredded cheese. Grill over indirect heat, covered, until the cheese melts, 4 minutes. Top with salsa.
2. Potato Chip–Bacon Grilled Nachos Make Grilled Nachos (No. 1), replacing the tortilla chips with potato chips, adding 4 slices crumbled cooked bacon with the scallions and omitting the beans and jalapenos. Top with sour cream instead of salsa.
3. Buffalo Chicken Grilled Nachos Brown 8 ounces ground chicken in olive oil in a nonstick skillet; season with salt. Stir in 1/3 cup hot sauce and 1 tablespoon butter. Spread one 10-ounce bag ranch-flavored tortilla chips in a foil pan (or fold up the edges of nonstick foil to form a tray). Sprinkle with 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and 4 ounces crumbled soft blue cheese, then top with the chicken. Grill over indirect heat, covered, until the cheese melts, 4 minutes. Top with celery leaves.
4. Buffalo Chicken Brie Toss 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken with 3 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce. Slice off the top rind of a small wheel of brie. Place on a sheet of nonstick foil; top with the chicken and 1 tablespoon diced celery. Bring the edges of the foil together and seal, leaving room in the packet. Grill over medium-low heat until the cheese is soft, about 8 minutes. Unwrap and top with blue cheese dressing and sliced scallions. Serve with crackers.
5. Buffalo-Ranch Chicken Dip Mix 2 cups each shredded Colby jack and shredded rotisserie chicken with 1/2 cup each Buffalo wing sauce, ranch dressing and sour cream and 4 ounces cream cheese. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish and top with 1/2 cup more shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until hot throughout, about 25 minutes. Serve with carrot and celery sticks.
6. Caramelized Onion Dip Cook 1 chopped onion in 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until caramelized, 30 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Mix with 1/2 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon brown mustard. Serve with potato chips.
7. Cheesy Onion Dip Mix 4 ounces cream cheese with 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped chives and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper. Layer in small cups with crushed nacho cheese chips and shredded cheddar. Serve with more chips.
8. Spicy Sloppy Joes Brown 1 pound ground meatloaf mix in olive oil in a large skillet. Add 1/2 cup each chopped onion and green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt; saute until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup each chili sauce (such as Heinz), spicy ketchup and water; simmer until thickened. Season with salt and hot sauce. Serve on slider buns with pickles.
9. Italian Pinwheels Mix 8 ounces cream cheese with 1/2 cup each chopped jarred banana peppers and roasted red peppers. Spread on three 10-inch flour tortillas and top with sliced provolone, ham, pepperoni and salami. Add a few romaine lettuce leaves. Tightly roll up each tortilla and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour. Trim off the ends, then slice each into 8 pinwheels.
10. Mini Italian Meatballs Mix 8 ounces each ground beef and bulk Italian sausage with 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and milk, 1 grated garlic clove, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Form into 1-inch balls (about 36) and fry in 2 inches 350 degrees F vegetable oil until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
11. Cuban Empanadas Sprinkle 3 slices each chopped deli-sliced ham and Swiss cheese on one side of 6 empanada disks. Top each with 1 teaspoon chopped dill pickle and drizzle with yellow mustard. Fold into half-moons and press the edges to seal. Fry in 1 1/2 inches 360 degrees F vegetable oil until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with yellow mustard.
12. Philly Cheesesteak Hand Pies Saute 1/2 each finely chopped small onion and green bell pepper in vegetable oil until tender; let cool. Cut out ten 4 1/2-inch rounds of refrigerated pie dough. Top each with 1/2 slice American cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped deli-sliced roast beef and the onion-pepper mixture, piling the filling on one side. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg, then fold into half-moons; press the edges to seal and pierce the tops a few times with a fork to allow ventilation. Bake at 400 degrees F until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
13. Reuben Hand Pies Make Philly Cheesesteak Hand Pies (No. 12), omitting the onion-pepper mixture and replacing the American cheese with Swiss and the roast beef with corned beef. Add 2 teaspoons drained sauerkraut to each before sealing. Serve with Russian dressing.
14. Sausage-and-Pepper Stromboli Brown 8 ounces bulk Italian sausage in a nonstick skillet. Roll out one 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough into a 9-by-10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Top with the sausage, one 12-ounce jar sweet or hot fried peppers (drained) and 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend. Roll up and transfer seam-side down to a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F until golden, 30 minutes. Slice.
15. Grilled White Pizza Mix 1/2 cup ricotta with 1/4 cup grated pecorino and 1 grated garlic clove. Stretch 1 pound pizza dough into a 9-by-12-inch oval; brush with olive oil. Grill directly on oiled grates over medium-high heat until marked, 4 minutes. Flip and spread the ricotta mixture on top. Sprinkle with 2 cups shredded mozzarella. Cover and cook until the cheese melts, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and dried oregano.
16. Pull-Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread Cut 1 loaf French bread into 1-inch-thick slices without cutting all the way through. Melt 1 stick butter with 3 grated garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons each olive oil and chopped parsley and 1/2 teaspoon each red pepper flakes, dried oregano and kosher salt; spoon over the bread and between the slices. Stuff shredded mozzarella between the slices. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake at 450 degrees F, 10 minutes. Unwrap and continue baking until the cheese melts, 7 to 10 minutes.
17. Pull-Apart Pizza Bread Make Pull-Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread (No. 16), stuffing sliced pepperoni between the bread slices along with the mozzarella. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
18. Pull-Apart Buffalo Bread Make Pull-Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread (No. 16), omitting the olive oil, parsley, red pepper flakes and oregano; add 2 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce to the melted butter. Stuff crumbled blue cheese between the bread slices along with the mozzarella. Serve with more Buffalo wing sauce.
19. Beer Cooler Shrimp Bring 4 cups water, two 12-ounce bottles light beer, 1 head garlic (halved crosswise), 2 sliced jalapenos, the zest of 2 lemons (in wide strips) and 1/4 cup kosher salt to a boil in a large pot; reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add 5 pounds shell-on large shrimp. Cover and cook until mostly pink, 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooler to keep warm and continue cooking. Let sit 10 minutes. Serve warm.
20. Spicy Grilled Pierogi Mix 4 tablespoons melted butter with 2 teaspoons Sriracha and a pinch of salt. Toss 1 pound frozen pierogi (any flavor) with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Grill over medium heat, covered, turning once, until hot, about 10 minutes; toss with the butter mixture. Serve with sour cream for dipping.
21. Mini Corned Beef Hash Omelets Whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, then stir in 1 cup shredded dill havarti. Coat a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each cup about two-thirds full with the egg mixture. Bake at 325 degrees F until puffed and set, 15 to 20 minutes. Fry 1 1/2 cups canned corned beef hash in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until browned, 5 minutes. Spoon over the omelets and top with chili sauce (such as Heinz).
22. Mini Huevos Rancheros Omelets Make Mini Corned Beef Hash Omelets (No. 21), replacing the havarti with shredded Mexican cheese blend and the hash with 1 cup refried beans. Top with pico de gallo, chopped avocado and sliced pickled jalapenos instead of chili sauce.
23. Mini Chili Bread Bowls Cut a hole in the top of dinner rolls; hollow out to form bowls. Fill with prepared chili and shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees F until the chili is warmed through and the cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Top with sour cream and sliced pickled jalapenos.
24. Mini Chili Dog Bread Bowls Make Mini Chili Bread Bowls (No. 23), adding a cocktail frank to the center of each before topping with the cheese. Top with chopped onions.
25. Turkey Taco Cups Coat 36 mini-muffin cups with cooking spray. Press a wonton wrapper into each cup and spray again. Season 1 pound ground turkey with 1 tablespoon taco seasoning and brown in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet; stir in 1 cup canned chili beans. Divide among the cups and top with shredded Mexican cheese blend. Bake at 375 degrees F until crisp, about 10 minutes. Top with sour cream, tomatoes and cilantro.
26. Loaded Guacamole Soak 1/2 cup finely diced red onion in ice water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Mash 2 ripe avocados, then stir in the onion, 1/2 cup each thawed frozen fire-roasted corn, diced tomatoes and orange bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 minced jalapeno and the juice of 3 limes; season with salt. Serve in small plastic cups with tortilla chips.
27. Smoked Cheddar–Jalapeno Quesadilla Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack, 1/4 cup shredded smoked cheddar, 1 sliced scallion and 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno on an 8-inch flour tortilla. Top with another tortilla and wrap tightly in foil. Grill over medium heat, flipping halfway through, until the cheese melts, 5 minutes.
28. Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla Sprinkle 3/4 cup each shredded Monterey Jack and shredded rotisserie chicken, 2 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce and 1 tablespoon each finely chopped celery and pickled jalapeno on an 8-inch flour tortilla. Top with another tortilla and wrap tightly in foil. Grill over medium heat, flipping halfway through, until the cheese melts, 5 minutes.
29. Jalapeno Popper–Stuffed Mushrooms Combine 8 ounces cream cheese with 1 cup shredded cheddar, 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 minced jalapeno. Stuff into large white mushroom caps (about 25). Bake at 400 degrees F until browned, 20 minutes.
30. Mini Antipasti Bowls Cut a hole in the top of 6 mini ciabatta rolls or dinner rolls; hollow out to form bowls. Mix 1/4 cup each chopped sliced salami, pepperoni, provolone, mozzarella, roasted peppers, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, 2 tablespoons each olive oil and red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon dried oregano; divide among the rolls.
31. Pulled Pork Frito Pie Warm 1 cup each pulled pork and barbecue baked beans in a saucepan. Cut a slit down the front of six 1-ounce bags of corn chips to open. Top the chips in each bag with the pulled pork mixture, sour cream, shredded cheddar and sliced pickled jalapenos.
32. Greek Salad in a Bag Whisk 1/2 cup hummus with 1/4 cup plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons water. Cut a slit down the front of six 1 1/2-ounce bags of pita chips to open. Drizzle the chips in each bag with the hummus sauce; top each with 1/4 cup each chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and 1 tablespoon each chopped pitted kalamata olives and red onion. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and olive oil and season with dried oregano, salt and pepper.
33. Fried Maple-Bourbon Wings Saute 1 small minced shallot in butter until tender, 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each maple syrup and bourbon, 2 tablespoons ketchup and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard; simmer until thickened, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles). Working in batches, dredge 2 pounds split chicken wings in flour, then deep-fry in 375 degrees F vegetable oil until crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with the maple-bourbon sauce.
34. Foil-Packet Jerk Wings Toss 1 1/2 pounds split chicken wings with 2 tablespoons each brown sugar, jerk seasoning paste and vegetable oil. Spread on a large piece of foil; bring the edges together and seal into a packet. Let marinate 30 minutes. Grill the packet over medium heat, turning halfway through, until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
35. Thai Chicken Skewers Cut 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs into 1-inch strips. Toss with 2 tablespoons each lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar and 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce; refrigerate 2 hours. Thread onto 6-inch skewers. Grill on oiled grates over medium-high heat, turning, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with peanut sauce and lime wedges.
36. Fried Chicken Bites Cut 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs into 1 1/2-inch pieces; toss with 2 tablespoons buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon each chili powder and kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cake flour; toss to coat. Fry in 1 inch 375 degrees F vegetable oil until crisp and cooked through, 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels; sprinkle with salt.
37. Honey-Barbecue Chicken Bites Make Fried Chicken Bites (No. 36); toss with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons honey while warm.
38. Chicken and Waffle Sliders Make Fried Chicken Bites (No. 36); drizzle with spicy honey. Sandwich the chicken and a bread-and-butter pickle slice between buttered toasted mini waffles.
39. Nashville-Style Fried Chicken Bites Make Fried Chicken Bites (No. 36), adding 1 tablespoon cayenne with the chili powder. Brush with 4 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and cayenne while warm.
40. Chicken Sausage in a Blanket Cut 8 cooked chicken sausages in half crosswise. Cut each of the biscuits from one 16-ounce tube refrigerated large biscuits in half crosswise; wrap each around a sausage. Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with crushed fennel seeds and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees F until browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with mustard.
41. Shrimp and Pepperoncini Skewers Toss 1 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined) with 5 smashed garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons each olive oil and pepperoncini brine; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour. Thread the shrimp and pepperoncini onto 6-inch skewers. Grill on oiled grates over medium-high heat until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
42. Beer-Marinated Steak Skewers Cut 1 pound flank steak into 1-inch strips. Marinate in one 12-ounce bottle stout beer mixed with 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon each Worcestershire sauce and kosher salt, 2 hours. Thread onto 6-inch skewers. Grill on oiled grates over medium-high heat until charred in spots, 3 minutes per side. Serve with mustard.
43. Grilled Halloumi Cut 1 pound halloumi into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons each olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice and 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Thread onto 6-inch skewers. Grill on oiled grates over medium-high heat, turning, until softened, 4 minutes.
44. Pickleback Gelatin Shots Sprinkle one 1/4-ounce envelope gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let sit 5 minutes. Microwave until liquid. Whisk in 1/2 cup each whiskey and dill pickle brine and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and sugar. Divide among 12 shot glasses; add a pickle slice to each. Chill until set, 3 hours.
45. Buffalo Popcorn Mix 1/4 cup each Buffalo wing sauce and melted butter; toss with 12 cups hot popcorn and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and celery salt.
46. Pretzel Cookies Beat 1 stick softened butter with 1/2 cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 1/4 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda and salt; beat into the butter mixture. Add 1 cup each crushed pretzels, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Shape into 2-inch balls. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F until golden, 12 minutes. Let cool.
47. Rocky Road Bites Fill mini phyllo shells with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees F until crisp, 10 minutes. Top with marshmallow cream and chopped salted peanuts; let cool.
48. Chipotle Caramel Popcorn Bring 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup corn syrup to a boil. Gradually stir in 1 stick cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces), then 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles). Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Drizzle over 12 cups hot popcorn and toss to coat. Spread on a parchment–lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
49. Chipotle Caramel Popcorn Mix Make Chipotle Caramel Popcorn (No. 48), adding 1/2 cup each pretzels, cocktail peanuts, puffed rice cereal and coconut flakes to the popcorn before tossing with the caramel.
50. Spiked Pudding Shooters Whisk 2 egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch. Heat 21/3 cups whole milk, 5 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/3 cup each coffee liqueur and Irish cream liqueur in a saucepan until the chocolate melts. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return to the pan and cook, whisking, until thick, 2 to 5 minutes. Spoon into 20 shot glasses. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Top with whipped cream.